Doug Gamble- Contributor
Gamble is a former writer for President Ronald Reagan and
in Carmel. [go to Gamble index]
San Francisco Kind of Hero
And Gavin Newsom’s political ambitions may stay there ...
[Doug Gamble] 8/17/04
the California Supreme Court has rejected San Francisco Mayor
Gavin Newsom’s attempt to thwart state law in support
of same-sex marriage, how does the political future look for
the man described by “Newsweek” as one of America’s
top 10 Democrats?
In San Francisco,
certainly, it’s golden. Elected with a 62% approval rating
in December 2003, Newsom’s approval stood at a dizzying
85% in the most recent poll. Maybe he could boost it even higher
by proposing something such as city funding for dating services
where men who used to be women can meet women who used to be
men. If that sounds far-fetched remember, this is San Francisco.
Newsom’s same-sex marriage gambit may hurt him is in
any ambitions for state or national office. Although he was
mobbed by adoring throngs at every A-list party during the
Democratic National Convention in Boston, party officials made
sure he had no speaking role. With gay and lesbian marriage
such a divisive social issue, they were afraid the Republicans
would seize on it as a hot button during the presidential election,
making Newsom the poster boy for the party.
Democrats may have similar apprehensions when it comes to 2006.
San Francisco Democrats already carry enough baggage when tying
to appeal to the rest of the state without the added burden
of such a controversial issue. True, Barbara Boxer and Diane
Feinstein have been successful in statewide races, but Boxer
has had either extraordinary luck or weak competition in her
Senate races and Feinstein, by San Francisco standards, is
a virtual right-winger.
If he ran
for statewide office, Newsom would be trying to convince the
same Californians who four years ago passed Proposition 22,
defining marriage as between a man and a woman. It was approved
by a healthy 61.4 per cent of voters.
marriage foe, Robert Knight, whose Culture and Family Institution
is affiliated with Concerned Women for America, says Newsom
has embarrassed his party. He believes the Supreme Court ruling
shows that the mayor and Democratic leadership is out of step
with mainstream America on this issue.
defiant, maintaining he will continue a lawsuit challenging
the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and insisting he
is even more resolved. And referring to the 4000 gay and lesbian
couples married in San Francisco between February 12 and March
11, he said his “fight for equal rights has put a human
face on discrimination for the world to see.”
who deplores the steady decline of San Francisco over the years
from a pleasant, tourist-friendly city to one where visitors
have to run a gauntlet of aggressive panhandlers, street grime
and violent criminals, I’m disappointed that Newsom has
so far failed to live up to his pre-election potential. I lauded
his candidacy in this space in July 2003, largely because of
his common-sense plan to clean up the streets and improve San
Francisco’s quality of life. Unfortunately, that was
not the battle he chose to fight once in office and it may
who are ahead of their time often achieve great success, but
to the extent Newsom has ambitions beyond San Francisco he
may pay a price for being too far ahead of his time.
however, remain a media darling along with his wife Kimberly
Guilfoyle Newsom, a former Victoria’s Secret model and
prosecutor and now a toothsome talking head on legal matters
on cable TV. When “Harper’s Bazaar” hits
the newsstands next Tuesday it will feature a photo spread
on the couple, who it refers to as “the new Kennedys.” One
shot has the pair in a tuxedo and gown sprawled out on a rug,
something I don’t recall Jack and Jackie doing. CRO
California-based Doug Gamble contributed speech material to
Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and writes a twice-monthly
column for the Orange County Register and CaliforniaRepublic.org.
2004 Doug Gamble